Posts Tagged ‘fathers’

Man of Steel

I have to admit that I am as excited as anybody to get out and see the newest Superman movie. Although DC comics pale in comparison to its counterpart, Marvel, Superman has been a longstanding part of every man-child’s upbringing. We, the masculine form of our species, have long been enamored with the idea of this spectacle Superman. A dude from another planet with values and morals beyond reproach, with only one weakness, if you don’t count Lois Lane, which I never do, because having a woman / love interest also be a weakness is so cliche it isn’t even funny. I could never stand that Lois would rather see Superman weak and get beat up in a diner rather than just be an awesome lover who could fly her around Metropolis on Date Night Fridays. That is not why I write today, although I would like to expound upon Lois and Superman’s relationship at some point in my life. I write because today is Father’s Day. I want to talk about the old man who brought me up and instilled in me the tenants of being a man.

There exists a thousand stories that I can tell that would prove the assertion that my pops, Lane started me early in training. If you have ever read anything about Teddy Rooselvelt, you would understand that, as a kid, this mountain of a man was weak and fragile. Afflicted with asthma and possessing a generally frail body, Teddy wasn’t the guy who one could see later leading the Rough Riders or hunts for wild animals in far off countries. One day Teddy’s father came to him and said, “Teddy, you weren’t given the strongest body, so you have to make it yourself.” From sick and weak to the Presidency–no big deal. The rest is history. I don’t really tell that story to glorify Teddy. He was a good dude, but I wanted to to point out his father, because in his father, I realize what it is my father did for me.

Lane Phillips, quite possibly the meanest man to have walked the earth, a man who is destined to be the subject of many an outlaw country song, the man who when cut bleeds like a wounded knight from a Monty Python sketch. Lane Phillips, the man who spawned me from his loins and then surrounded me with sisterfolk, the man whose mustache is rumored to be more full and thick than that of God himself. Lane Phillips, my father, and now my friend.

This is my dad in a nutshell.

I got in a bike accident as a sixth grader. I hydroplaned for one thousand feet (read ten or so feet) and came up with road rash all over my arms and legs. I was out of myself in pain. I was running around in circles, and according to my father, I was shedding my clothes like some moron, like I had entered into a state of shock and lost control of myself. People were gathering and watching the entire show. I was a star! My dad grabbed my bike. Walking right onto the stage during the drama, he grabbed me and looked at all of the wounds, probably making sure there were no bones broken. He put my hand on the bike and said, “you need to get yourself together and limp out of here pushing this bike home. Nothing you’re doing right now is going to make any of this better.” His voice was riddled with a tone that said, “wrecking is one thing, embarrassing yourself is another thing entirely, push through this and move on.”

A few years later, I watched my dad catch a fish. The fishing lure he was using had a treble hook and and was barbed to ensure the fish, once caught, stayed caught. While removing the fish from the hook, the fish jerked as fish do, one of the hooks went into my dad’s finger. My dad said one word and it was profane. With the hook through his finger, he still removed the fish and put it on the stringer to be cleaned later. The barb was through the skin so he had to push the entire hook through in order to get it out. He bled like his index finger was actually designed incorrectly and attached to an artery, but never said another word. I saw what a calm and cool reaction did for him and was amazed..He just pushed through and everything was better.

A few years later, I was attending Officer Candidates School for the United States Marine Corps. After jumping into a huge hole full of water, I felt an extremely painful and audible pop in my right ankle. Another Marine had to lift me up and we both kept running. I stayed calm, cool, and collected and finished three more weeks of training on a foot that was missing all anterior ligaments. When I told the doctor that I kinda was just brought up not to act like an idiot when you hurt yourself. The doctor responded, “How admirable, but its the stupidest thing you could have done.” What does he know, right Dad?

My Dad has raised me to be courageous in adversity. Something Superman never has to do. My Dad has built in me a longing to be responsible for my actions–a trait far too lacking in society today. My Dad has raised me with the values that your wife is the someone to be taken care of and cherished. My dad has raised me with a longing to be tough when things get difficult. My dad instilled in me a longing to give my child every single opportunity, but not to give them every “thing.”

My dad said to me recently that he sometimes forgets that his father is gone on to a better place and that there are moments when he will be thinking and he will have a question for his dad. He relayed to me how sad it was to realize again that his dad is gone. He told me stories about his old man, and how amazing and brilliant my grandfather was. I heard emotion in his voice and longing to have just one more discussion with the man. In that moment, me a mid-thirty year, became a boy again. And sitting there, in an honest voice my dad taught me another lesson. My Dad has taught me to slow down and not be as tough–to take the time to be a dad–to look at him as an example of all things good and bad–to take the things about him that I love and apply them, but to build upon other areas. He has taught me that he is not perfect and that the best parts of men are found in how they respond to their own failures and shortcomings. My dad has taught me to be a better dad than even he was.

My beautiful wife has given me a daughter. Today I thank my dad, because he has given me the foundation to be a Man of Steel for her.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


If you ever want to feel good about yourself and your beliefs, you should call my father.  My dad and I agree on just about everything, but somehow, by the end of the phone call, we are yelling about how much we agree.  Take everything going on in politics right now.  I won’t even call my dad, because we would yell at each other for hours about everything.  I believe that whomever my dad is talking to as he gets amped up actually morphs into the people he is fed up with.  I so badly want to go on a tirade over politics, but I am certain that I would lose all ten loyal readers of this blog.  But isn’t that what writing is supposed to do, get people spun up and make them think even if they think that what I wrote is incorrect?

Recently, I handed in a writing assignment.  The assignment was to answer a question.  The question was the thesis of the paper then.  So, I answered the question, and then the teacher said there was no real thesis in the paper.  I told her that the question she handed out was the thesis.  She said that is not the way it works.  I told her I had the same degree she did.   I lost.  But, in my head, I won, and knowing is half the battle.

So, here is the thesis of this blog.  Lane Phillips, my father should be President of the United States.

I want my dad to be president.  I want to watch the news in the morning and see my old man walking down the hallway, out the doors, and then I want my old man to brief the press.  I want the press to piss my dad right off, and then I want to watch.  I want my scary, conservative father to stand up in front of a nation and fix the shit out it.   More specifically, I want the nation run like our house was.  My dad never takes more than four seconds to make a decision, and he is right every time.  He can take a square peg and make it fit into a round hole.  He can do it by scaring the square peg round.  There is no problem my dad cannot fix.  My dad uses three things to fix everything, and they are as follows:  New skin (that stuff you put on wounds to seal them), Quicken (the program you use to balance your checking account), and empty coffee cans (you would be surprised how much an empty coffee can will do during any situation you may find yourself in).

My dad understands economics better than any man I know.  He would use Quicken to balance the entire nation’s budget, and somehow, using the same program he would have money stashed everywhere so that he always had enough to get a bigger TV.  He would only borrow money from China on the “6 Months, Same As Cash” method, and he would always let China believe he wouldn’t pay in full on time, only to screw them over on the sixth month.  You see, my dad gets this weird sense of satisfaction from setting aside the monthly payment for six months, except the minimum required (which never gets the debt paid before interest hits) and then boom, he pays that shit off.  He has relayed to me on multiple occasions a fantasy he has where some pretentious accountant is crying when Best Buy receives his payment just before they were going to make a killing off of interest.  These are things a President dreams about.

My dad understands military tactics and how to employ our nation’s most powerful asset.  He was a member of the Navy for 20 plus years, and now continues to serve by playing first person shooter games.  He would be the only president in history that could explain to you how to correctly knife the enemy while simultaneously switching to your pistol and shooting him in the face.  He has also proven that, regardless of the age of the person he is playing online, he will drop an “F” bomb into his headset and remind the kid that wisdom will beat stupid and inexperienced youth every time.  I want my president to do that.

I have told you in previous blogs that my dad hates everybody equally.  This is a required trait for a president.  Hating everybody is essential to running a country where no one ever agrees.  Every American is the smartest person in the room when it comes to politics.  We all cannot believe how asinine the opposing opinions are.  Some of the most ignorant people I have ever known, during a politically charged conversation, suddenly develop opinions, and there is nothing worse than ignorant people who believe in something.  It’s usually based off of getting something for free, but whatever.

Religious values will not dominate my father’s campaign.  The family is the most important unit of America, and thusly, he would concentrate on the family’s role in government.  Religious values should be taught in the home and fostered and nurtured in the home.  My dad would concentrate on making families function better by fixing the economy with Quicken and giving America’s families freedom of movement.  Because my dad is brilliant, he would remind all of the fathers and mothers out there:

“Your kids should fear you.  Your kid should respect you.  Your kid is not your friend; do not be afraid to lay the smack down when your kid acts like an ass in public.  More importantly, do not let your kid just get by and don’t give him or her everything they want.  Don’t pretend that giving your children more opportunities than you had as a child means losing discipline and handing them everything.  Teach your child about losing, because they will lose.  They will lose something awful, and it will suck.  Teach them how to get back up, so that when they lose in real life, they don’t look to the government to take care of them.  Mothers and fathers have helped create an environment where entitlement trumps hard work and perseverance.”

My dad would not care who you love.  You love a tree, marry the damn thing—just don’t be a jackass, pay your debt, and quit looking to me to bail you out.  You love a man, marry the man, just don’t be a jackass, and pay your debt and quit looking to me to bail you out.  You want to be a religious whatever—do it, but don’t be a jackass, and pay your debt.  Jackassery leads to failure and failure just might be what you need to remind you that people lose in real life.  You’re gay, congratulations, get married, but for the love of god, be gay, fiscally responsible, and don’t be a jackass.  My dad would point out that the government is getting caught up on things that should be left to the individual.  The government should be working to give its citizens a stable platform in which to work and live.  Just as important, my dad would remind the individual citizen that relying on the government to save you from yourself and your own irresponsibility is futile.  The government doesn’t’ work that way, except recently.  Then my dad would kick in a door and make Harry Reid resign, and he would do it solely because Harry Reid sounds like an idiot.  My dad cannot stand people who sound like an idiot.  Idiots have no place in society.   He would also say that an empty chair would be a more effective president than some that have been elected.

The people that would suffer the most under the 8 year reign of my father are criminals.  Criminals deserve it.   Criminals are terrorists, and need to be treated as such.  I guess communists would suffer too, but they would be fiscally responsible while they are suffering, and probably more successful than they are used to.

Dad, I cannot wait to see your name in every front yard.  If you win, you will be my boss again….

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


Smack dab plus two in the middle of July, 198 or 199 days into the year depending on whether it is a Leap Year or not, 167 days remaining to shed in the year are all other ways that you could say July 17.  July 17th holds a lot of meaning to me.

For the following reasons, July 17th is one of my favorite days.

In 1933, after successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashes in Europe under mysterious circumstances.  In 1944, Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320.  One of my favorite events is South Korea proclaiming its constitution in 1948.  We cannot forget that the Harvard School of Dentistry was established on this date in 1867.  Of course, we all come together on this day to commemorate the day in 1717 when King George I sailed with 50 musicians on a barge down the River Thames on the opening day of Handel’s Water Music.    (things in this paragraph were stolen from Wikipedia somewhat illegally in that I did not properly cite it.  The underlined words are indicative that I cut and pasted material directly from the site.)

I contend however that what today is really about is Whitney Phillips.  At 0705 in the morning after a night of pizza eating and walking, a sexy pregnant lady named Valerie gave birth to Whitney Waters.  Named after the highest summit in the contiguous United States, Whitney quickly rose into her name.  Her old name was beautiful to me, and rang of a really cool porn star name.  Although, Valerie doesn’t know that I think that….until now.    To be fair, Val, I am not the only one to think this, just sayin. 

I celebrate Whitney today, and truthfully, I have been celebrating her since July 1st, because in our home, Whitney gets one month to herself.  I am thankful that the child she is carrying around in her belly was not born this month.  Whitney would have had trouble sharing; I actually think that she secretly holds Independence Day in contempt.  On the 4th, when people tell her “Happy Fourth,” Whitney replies with, “and a happy 13 Days to my birthday to you….”  She always gets confused when the fireworks in her honor are accompanied by patriotic music and not the soundtrack to her favorite movie, Dirty Dancing.

So in the spirit of Whitney Month, I wanted to give you a few facts about who you should be celebrating.

  1. 1.        Whitney hates how loud my sneezes are.  When she blesses me, she says, “Bless you.”  The tone with which she says it to me is consistent with the following phrase, “I can’t stand it when you sneeze anywhere near me.  It makes me question what I ever liked about you.  I am this close to walking out the door, but I am carrying your baby, and I don’t want to take her away from her father.”
  2. 2.       Whitney is a tip toe runner.  I make fun of her for it, but she has glorious calves, which only accentuates the fact that my calves are made up purely of shin bone…
  3. 3.       Whitney taught her 5th graders to say Psalms where the “S” is silent.  There are a group of about 22 kids going into the sixth grade that are extremely well versed in their Palms.
  4. 4.       Whitney would rather me make her a homemade card than spend a thousand dollars on clothing or accessories.  Of course, this does not mean that she doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on clothing and accessories; she just doesn’t seem to think my taste in the aforementioned items is quite right.  Go figure.  That being said, Whitney dresses me nicely.  I would probably still dress like it is the grunge era, because in my head I am the coolest…Luckily, in Whitney’s head, I am a guy with questionable taste in clothes. 
  5. 5.       Whenever I raise my hand in a manner as if I was going to slap Whitney ( Pimps do this…), she puts her hand in the air and says, “How,” like a Native American greeting.  To me, this means the threat of me hitting her isn’t being taken seriously enough.  Unfortunately, I was only operating on what I might do, not on what I would actually do.  Now, I just look stupid.  We have actually turned it into our own little high five.
  6. 6.       Whitney is an example of the things I wish I consistently was.  She is the kind of woman who would tell someone who is littering to pick it up.  She will tell a concession worker at a theater that in customer service, the cashier should actually greet the consumer.  She tows a line and holds herself accountable.  I cannot lie; the better parts of me are that way because The Whitness won’t let the slack up. 
  7. 7.       Whitney pees with the door open, and if I ruin the moment, she gets as mad about it as she has for the worst of things I have ever done to her.  Don’t tell her I wrote this down—she might think this was personal…

So, tonight while you are gathered around the Whitney Tree drinking spirits and engaging in riveting tales of forgotten lore all in celebration of Whit, I encourage you to remember what you are celebrating for.  It is not just another Tuesday.  It is the day that marks the reason most of you even read these blogs.  Whitney.  30 years of being completely unique.  30 years of living out the name her mom gave her…not the porn star version, but the strength associated with the mountain that sits majestically overlooking California from a vantage point of over 14,000 feet.  Happy Birthday, Whitney!  We’re all going to continue looking up to you for many years to come.

Let me end this with my favorite Palm.  Palm 717 Verse 1982.  The Lord created The Whitness…..

I have spent the last few blogs documenting some of my father’s abilities. I am not going to come back to you now and tell you that those things were not necessarily the truth about the big guy, because they are absolutes. Actually, if he were to come here and tell you, he would admit that the things I am writing about him are points of pride for him. Not only this, but I also think he is surprised I came out of my childhood able to put together groupings of words that form readable sentences. Somewhere in Albuquerque, NM, the man is sitting at the table remembering the days when I was right there to torture, and on his face is that little smirking smile of nostalgic satisfaction.

He is everything I have described from the earliest blog where I talk about his driving issues, to the last blog where I, to your horror, at least the 15 of you who read it, exposed the “television to my cranium” incident of 1984ish where my dad let it slip that on the level of importance list, his son falls somewhere below a 1970s television. Of note, the television still sits on Lane Andrew Phillips’ shelf at home as a constant reminder of an unfinished job.

Born in 1950, and the son of a Sailor, my dad is as old school as they come. Some things he does deviate from a complete stereotype, but they speak more to his reckless disregard for society’s expectations. For instance, the man cannot stop wearing socks with sandals. I think worse still, the man wears ugly sandals that no one wears. Even the company that makes the sandals hates them; they feel guilty about selling them. If you bring up to him his cheesiness, he will remind you that the problem is not him, the problem is people caring about what other people think about them. The problem is that people get so caught up in nonsense that sandals have somehow become an issue that says more about a person than the fact that the person has a 9 to 5 job and can pay all of his bills. Lane Phillips would look you in the eye and tell you that you are petty and weak. He would tell you that the second you can shed your desire to be accepted by the cool people, you’ll be free. On Father’s Day, I offer up to you ten facts about my dad.

1. Not a huge hugger. On the rare occasion we do hug, I have seen him sneak away to wash the hug off of him.

2. He has used his pinky finger and spit to clean my face off before a family picture. During this occasion, I got the distinct feeling he cleaned my face off quickly, but was actually trying to rub the skin off of my face.

3. He lives by a code, and one of the points of his code is never to trust a child. I have seen him break this rule once and it cost him dearly. He asked his son, me, to put a truck into neutral so he could use his motorcycle to pull the truck up a driveway. He said to his son, “Do you know what neutral is? Son, this is a very important question, because the truck will not move if it is in gear, and then I risk the possibility of causing damage to the motorcycle. . You do! Great, when I tell you to, put the truck in neutral and let me know when it is ready.” 500 dollars later and a new clutch for his motorcycle, and the cat was out of the bag; I had no clue what neutral was. I just got in the truck and jiggled some stuff, but definitely did not put it into neutral. Ooops, my bad.

4. He has weak thumbs and cannot hear out of one of his ears. That being said, he could still kick my ass in a fight.

5. Very involved in his son’s high school extracurricular activities. On one occasion, Lane Phillips came home from work and asked his son how track practice was. When his son brought up the fact that he did not participate in, nor would he ever run track, Lane Phillips mumbled something like, “that’s because you are weak and walked out of the kitchen.” It was the thought that counts.

6. My father actively hates, has hated, or will soon hate everyone he comes into contact with.

7. Unforgivable sins to my father in order from most unforgiveable down:

a. Wearing a baseball cap backwards. If his son were to come home after breaking curfew, escorted by the police and in cuffs, and had his hat on backwards, he would be yelled at for the hat being on backwards. In his mind, catchers are the only human beings allowed to wear their hat backwards, and oddly enough, if you played catcher, you could wear your hat backwards when dressed in everyday clothing. I think he does this so that if he is ever throwing together a pick-up game of baseball, he doesn’t have to ask a lot of questions. He can just grab the first guy who wanders by with a backwards cap on. It is much simpler this way.

b. Communism

c. Crying over physical pain.

d. Disagreeing with him regardless of topic, issue, or actual correctness

8. Lane Phillips will only stop on road trips at Denny’s. If he is ever forced to eat outside of his comfort zone, he will order fried shrimp. If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “stick with fried shrimp, you can’t go wrong there.”

9. Lane Phillips does not like to be in places where there is even a small probability that he will have to be around other people. People annoy my dad. People are the worst invention ever.

10. Lane Phillips believes that all kids are inherently evil and should be treated as such. All kids want to ruin your life; they are plotting to right now. . If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “Kids are great to have around as long as you remember they are trying to destroy you inside and out. Economically, spiritually, physically.”

All of these facts aren’t saying that he isn’t a great father, because the dude is amazeballs. I love him, but it makes me feel icky to tell him, but that’s his fault, right? So instead of calling him and saying something mushy, that would make him continue to question his decision not to finish the job the television started, I wrote these facts. I wrote these facts because I love him…and I’ve said it before, I am definitely my father’s son.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years.

This is now actually part two of three.  If you haven’t read part one click here it will give you some context, plus it will give me more readership on that blog, which in turn, will make me feel better about myself. 

4.       I have been threatened and subsequently nearly killed over one US dollar.  I wanted to keep this on the subject of my father because I can do whatever I want to.  If I wanted to reference Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I can.  Like, for example, do you remember the song, “I got the golden ticket, I got the golden ticket….” 

      Okay, so my father… I think your initial reaction should be to feel sorry for me for my life spent with such a scary tyrant of a dad.  However, I bet that by the time you’re done reading this, you will wish that you could get in line to help him beat my ass. 

      Long story short.  I had pretty much recovered from the candy bar fiasco and was back to some semblance of normalcy.  It was summertime and around our house, we had this really cool Tupperware container for holding Kool-Aid.  As a matter of fact, I first developed my fondness for Tupperware because of my childhood Tupperware collection, which included this container.  This container was used so much by us that it actually had permanent stained Kool-Aid marks on the sides.  It featured a sliding top that let you pour Kool-Aid through a strainer like opening or a full wide mouth opening.  The top fit snugly down inside the bigger, bottom piece.  As a fourth grader, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…) 

      So in this situation, I thought that the container top fit so snugly inside of the bottom that it could actually withstand the weight of the Kool-Aid and would remain closed if I tipped it upside down.  Unfortunately, what I hypothesized (that the container lid would stay nestled into the bigger bottom portion even when forced to hold the added liquid’s weight) was incorrect.  However, learning did occur.  This science experiment taught me about potential energy and kinetic energy, one of Newton’s Laws, and about how sugar reacts to linoleum flooring.  To be clear here: The Tupperware container’s lid did not support the weight of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid.  The experiment further illuminated that Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid spreads across a kitchen like oil does on water.  To be clear here:  One gallon of Rock-o-dile Red Kool-Aid has the ability to cover at 12 square feet of kitchen surface area.  In full on panic mode (see yesterday’s blog on my father as Satan), I grabbed the roll of paper towels and just started unrolling them onto the mess on the floor, counters, crevices of the stove top, under the fridge, everywhere.  I must have used two rolls just to soak up the Kool-Aid.  I felt like I had averted near disaster, and best of all my dad hadn’t happened upon me during the science experiment.  I was going to walk away from this unscathed.  I threw the soaked towels away, and walked away with satisfaction over my new found knowledge of science. 

      Hours later I heard yelling, and like a dog that had forgotten all about their earlier transgressions that walked right up to his owner when he discovered urine on the carpet, I wandered right to the point of the yelling hoping to see my sisters getting skinned alive.  Instead, what I saw next looked like the scene of a crime.  Red paper towels everywhere; did my dad actually just skin my sisters alive?  Not only that, but everywhere he walked his shoes were making this weird sticking sound like he was walking on glue.  I quickly saw that what was going on in the kitchen was somehow coming back on me.  I tried to slink into the background, but he saw it my eyes……fear. 

      I remember being held against a wall; I remember my dad’s voice; I remember that his index finger bounced off of my nose on every syllable as he repeated the following phrase over and over and over, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS COSTS, THEY COST A DOLLAR!!!!!”   I woke up seven days later with no recollection of the events that ensued after being pressed against the wall.

5.       I was nearly killed by a falling 32 inch television set.  This was in the 80s, so you know that the set weighed at least 70 Lbs.  To be clear here:  The set was probably built in the 70s, so you know that the TV weighed at least 100 Lbs.  More specifically, the TV didn’t even have a remote, so kids were often used as little remote controls.  But, in our house, my dad, who I have mentioned before as being wary of children, would not allow kids to touch anything.  Kids carried “magic sticky” and everything kids touched was contaminated and broken. 

      My dad cherished the television.  It was his baby.  We kids were there because my mom loved us and convinced my dad that we were worth keeping around; I am sure that she pointed out our potential for slave labor when we were older and stronger.   Out of protection for the TV, my dad placed it high atop a set of shelves to keep kids from ruining everything he worked so hard to get.  The problem with shelves, though, is that they form a ladder.  Being left alone to watch TV, I decided that I wanted to watch The Dukes of Hazard and see what trouble Bo and Luke were up to in Hazard County. 

      I began the climb to the top of the shelf.  The shelving, I shit you not, was like 15 feet high, and I expertly negotiated every shelf.  As I reached up for the TV, I made a couple of bad decisions.  As a child, I was curious about things, but didn’t have the background in physics, nor did I possess the common sense required to avoid the seemingly, easily avoidable.  (Whitney has proposed to me recently, that not only did I never have common sense, but I also failed to ever find any…)  I failed to understand gravity’s effect on human beings and televisions.  And I think more importantly than this, I failed to understand the distribution of weight across an object that extends vertically from the ground, more specifically, that the vertical object cannot have its heaviest point be off center and higher than midpoint, or else, said vertical object will tip over in the direction the heaviest point is pulling it.  (See Figure 1.1) 

  Figure 1.1, this photo is my personal property.  I spent hours drawing it 

      Needless to say, I reach for the TV and this movement sets in motion a horrible sequence of events that tells you my entire childhood in a nutshell.  Everything starts to fall.  I cling to the TV and pull it with me.  Halfway down I am now holding the TV pressed firmly against my head, at this point all of the lessons I needed to learn were learned, but unfortunately, there was no stopping this from happening.  I was falling, and this 80s TV was going to smash my skull in, and I looked death in the eye, and I screamed like a bitch.  When I landed, my head cushioned the blow for the TV, but I swear this is what I heard in the surround: 

Mom:  Oh my god, my son, he’s dead…..he’s dead, I know it.


Stay tuned to part three where I will do what I originally said I would do during this blog. I will finish my last two personal tidbits of information and recommend some terrific reading.    

An Award for Versatility in Blogging…. Part One 

If it weren’t for Lisa’s Rant, I would never win any awards, but I am cool with that because she is a cool chick.  Cool chicks can give me awards anytime.  Because she continues to pull me along on her voyage to the top of the blog world, I will continue to write, and I am glad to be considered worth reading by Lisa.  So, what are the requirements for this award you ask?  Well I am going to tell you seven things that you may not know about me and then recommend a bunch of blogs worth reading, but all of this will happen in two parts.  These are three of the seven things will change your life, or in the least, they will give you a new found appreciation for me, or not.

1.  I got caught stealing a Caramello from a local grocery store in Idaho Falls, Id.  This is kind of boring, right?  Well let me add some context.  I was in 4th grade and the next day of class was  going to be reading all day and lounging around.  We were allowed to bring snacks, and if there is one thing I love, it is snacks.  My mother dropped a friend and myself off at the entrance to the store and then she was going to circle until we were done buying a soda and a pack of chips.  Well let me tell you something, a soda and a pack of chips does not suffice for a day of reading and lounging.  I wanted a damn Caramello, and I was willing to pillage a store for it.  Plus, it was the 80s, how good could security be at a grocery store in Idaho Falls in the 1980s?  PLUS CARAMELLO’s ARE WORTH IT, so stop judging me! 

So, I put the candy bar in my pocket and exited the store.  At this moment a mustached worker of the joint ambushed me with questions about having something that doesn’t belong to me.  I did what any self respecting boy would do, and just broke down crying.  Crying like a bitch.  As planned, my mom pulled back up and rolled her window down intrigued by this man accosting her innocent child.  While the mustached man explained, I continued crying.  My friend’s reaction was one of pure stoicism.  But, he was a career criminal after that instance, so he doesn’t count against me as a man.  I thought for sure that my mother would rescue me and take me home; sure, I would be punished, but get me home where I can run off into the safety of my room.  Instead, the following words fell out her emotionless mouth.  “Take him to jail with the rest of the thieves.”  I did what any crying boy would do.  I looked at my mother, this Judas, and thought, “this woman is serious as shit right now.”  She was so serious that the mustached man had to talk her into taking me home so that he didn’t have to do additional work. 

People, this is the last time I stole anything—mostly out of fear that my mother would seek further retribution on my ginger ass.  I am still not allowed in the Buttrey’s located just off 1st Street and South Fanning Blvd in Idaho Falls, Id.  Right now, somewhere in the Idaho, a mustached man walks the aisles of a grocery store keeping the place a bit safer.  Kudos to you mustached security guard.

2.  I have been threatened by a man with a hot iron before.  Sounds kind of boring right?  Well let me add some context.  Long story short, but I had just been caught stealing a candy bar from a local grocery store in Idaho Falls, Id.  After my Judas of a mother (who I love more for it) was finally talked into taking me home vice a stay in the local juvenile hall, I was presented in front of the scariest judge and jury known to all of mankind, Lane Andrew Phillips, my father and my worst nightmare.  You see, I grew up in a family where, “Wait till your father get’s home” were the six words that could cause an immediate ulcer.   When I hurt my sisters, I would beg to the point of payment that my sisters not tell my dad.  More over, it was rumored around our house that our father had skinned children to death just by cussing at them until their skin just fell off. 

There is no real way to describe my dad except that he is comparable to the leader of hell.  Standing there before me, he may as well have been Satan; the only difference is that Satan is timid and weak in comparison to Lane Andrew Phillips.  My mom kind of just forced me in front of him and then she quickly vanished into the catacombs of the house.  I looked back once and saw her peering over a dark rock amidst my siblings, who had claimed front row seats for my slaying.  I just sniffled and murmured.  I am certain I blew a snot bubble out of my nose and drew asthmatic breaths while viscous liquids hung from my face in long strings.  My father was facing away from me ironing his uniform, but since he feeds off of little children’s fear, and I was scared shitless, he sensed I was broken and turned slowly in the most diabolically foreboding 180 degree turn.  The iron blew smoke out of the holes on the bottom and hissed at me.  Flames shot out of my dad’s fingers.  I had resigned to the fact that after this moment, my face was going to have the tell-tale iron burn starting from just above my right eye down to my lower left jaw area.   I closed my eyes, I went internal.  I watched my dad’s mouth move and heard nothing.  The iron was flailing to and fro.  All I heard was my own heart beating, thump, thump….thump, thump.  I woke up seven days later, no burn, no nothing.   None of my family members have told me what happened during the seven days following The Hot Iron Incident of 1986. 

3.  I have gone to a restaurant with my parents and been forced to eat bread and water while sitting in the corner.  Sounds kind of boring right?  Well let me add some context.  Long story short, but I had just recovered from a near-death situation where I was threatened with a hot iron.   I was in the initial stages of serving a life sentence of restriction at home.  I was permanently grounded.  Here’s how it worked.  I was actually allowed outside, but only to the end of the driveway.  This is my dad at his best.  I could go to the end of the driveway, but no one could play with me in the driveway and I couldn’t play with those out of the driveway.  In essence, it was my dad’s way of making me wish for freedom even more.  It was also my little version of a Scarlet Letter.  Kids would whisper about the poor kid, who they heard pissed himself when threatened with an iron, that couldn’t leave his driveway.  To this day when I visit, I am stuck in my parent’s driveway. 

Anyway, my parents didn’t trust me at home anymore and they had a dinner date with another couple.  I got to go with them.  We loved eating out when we were kids because it happened very infrequently.  I thought I won the lottery, and shit, if stealing got me restaurant dinners, I was ready to go for broke.  We got to the eating establishment and my parents met their friends.  They were laughing and everyone was very joyful.  The foursome and I made our way to the hostess for seating.  When we got there here is the exchange that happened.   

Hostess:  Good evening!  Is it just five of you tonight? 

Lane Andrew Phillips:  No, it is four of us.  The fifth one here is my son, of whom I am ashamed.  He is a thief and cannot be trusted.  He cannot be at home with his sisters alone, because he is half a man.  He will sit at his own table where I can watch him.  He will eat bread and water.  Please do not leave anything you want to see remain in your restaurant on the table where you seat him, because he will likely steal it.   

Hostess:  I have just the table. 

This really happened.  I do not lie, cheat, or steal anymore.  Trust me, I work for the government, I wouldn’t lie to you.   

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post where I will finish this up and recommend six or seven blogs to read that are far better than the one you just read.  If you read this and regret it so far, you have Lisa’s Rant to thank…  

I just want to go to sleep.  I want to count down from ten to one, but never make it to one because the drugs are so good.  I just want to be put to sleep and wake up in a room to see a nurse’s kind and gentle face looking down on me like a dream saying, “Hello Mr. Phillips, you’re all done, it was an absolute success.  We’ve phoned your wife and she will be back shortly; you can go home; what a great day.”  I want to see pastel colored walls that soothe the soul and leave me longing to return to this sacred instance again later.  I want the entire evolution to feel like those television shows that document people who die, have an out of body experience, and when they come back they almost wish they had stayed in the euphoria that was death.

This would be my perfect trip to the dentist.  And this cannot happen, because dentists work directly for the devil.

If there is a dentist reading this, and you feel offended, I want you to know that it is nothing personal; it is just a harsh reality I have learned after long days of anguish and torment—and these are just the days leading up to an appointment.  Furthermore, I encourage all dentists to start their own blog, and in your blog, you can discuss pathetic weaklings like me.  I know much has happened since the days where you just got a man drunk off whiskey, tied his arms down, and went to town on his molars; and yet, I still feel like this is pretty much what happens when I visit the dentist, except nowadays it is frowned upon to get patients drunk.  So, in some aspects, it is worse today.

To some extent, I feel like dentistry is a voodoo science part of the medical system.  Maybe more so, like it is a learn-as- you-go profession, which absolutely scares the hell out of me.  Plus, and this is huge, who becomes a dentist?  Well, why did you become what you are?  Usually this is answered with a comment along the lines of, “because I really enjoy helping people, and I am interested in the human mouth…”  I don’t know, but it definitely has the connotation that dentists are comfortable sitting in a dentist chair, so they are already out of touch with me from the get go.  They are out of touch and indifferent to my suffering.  They all have the same look on their faces that my father had one time when I fell off of my bike rounding a corner too fast.  After hydroplaning three hundred feet and removing the skin from all points of contact with the asphalt, I proceeded to enter a state of shock where I ran around in circles screaming like a bitch.  My dad’s ever sympathetic attempt at helping his mortally wounded son was to yell at him for embarrassing him in public under the “men don’t act like little bitches” clause of the fatherhood code.  That tone with which he dealt with me is the same tone that dentists talk to me when I enter their torture lair.

I actually have to train to go to the dentist’s office.  My regiment is as strict as any of my workout routines I utilize to get this startlingly handsome and built physique….anyways.  I am going to walk you through what goes on in the days leading up to any random appointment forced upon me by radical zealot dentists seeking to oppress innocent people with their black magic.

First Exercise:

Similar to water boarding except at a dentist’s office there is never any break for a confession, just torture.  The exercise involves me filling my mouth with water, leaning back in my chair and holding the water in my mouth as long as possible.  I hold the water in my mouth until I cannot stand it and then spit.  I repeat constantly.  This simulates the following:

I have this inability to remain calm while saliva, blood, and dental waste fill up my mouth.  It is like a claustrophobia that sets in the second my head goes back and I realize that 1).  I am not getting the volume of air I want to get into my lungs through my nostrils, and 2).  I have a diminished ability to swallow properly.  I would rather be buried alive.  This claustrophobia causes sheer terror in my soul.  I lose my mind.  Time slows to a near standstill; I lose the ability to make the oxygen I am breathing enter my bloodstream.  Everything is shutting down.  My vision tunnels.  I want to cry, I want to seek refuge anywhere else in that moment.  I want out of this hell chair. Now.

Second Exercise:

Clench my hands together overlapping my fingers like a man in deep prayer.  (Note: I have already been praying about this dentist trip for days, so I do not pray at this moment.  However, I resume praying on the drive to the dentist’s office).  No, I squeeze as hard as I can for as long as I can.  This simulates the following:

From the second that lady that keeps handing the dentist instruments of torture lowers my head below parallel; I begin clutching my hands together in terror.  I have actually made my front two joints on all of my fingers physically separate from my hand during a cleaning.  It is not from the pain that may ensue, but from the onset of the aforementioned claustrophobia setting in.

Third Exercise:

This is a compound movement that begins with the second exercise.  I have to practice breaking my hands apart and then, using my right hand, which is permanently in the clutching position at this point.  Once broken apart, I practice extending my index finger into a hook position.  This hook position is, in my head, the universal “put that suction thing in my mouth and cease all work” signal.  I brief the dentist on this prior to the initiation of the hellish journey to clean teeth.

These exercises have helped me through many trips to the dentist.  I have contemplated having all my teeth removed down to the gums to avoid repeat trips to the dentist.  What can I say; I am weak and need help.  If a dental procedure is optional, that means it won’t happen.  Lord, have mercy on my soul.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years….